NASCAR Notes - Another Tony Stewart incident draws another fine from NASCAR

Posted: Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Tony Stewart's aggressive driving continues to bolster NASCAR's penalty coffers.

Stock car's governing body fined driver Kasey Kahne's crew chief $10,000 Tuesday for a pit-road brawl with Stewart's team during the Tropicana 400 .

Crew chief Tommy Baldwin violated two NASCAR rules when he and the rest of Kahne's crew entered Stewart's pit stall and fought with his pit crew after the two drivers were involved in an accident on the track.

Baldwin was fined $5,000 for inciting an altercation in another team's pit area and $5,000 more for not controlling other team members. He was also placed on probation through the end of the 2004 season.

Stewart ran into the back of Kahne's car during the race, sending the rookie driver's car into the outside wall. Stewart said Kahne pulled in front of him and slowed down, causing the accident. Stewart went on to win the race.

Ray Evernham, who owns Kahne's team, defended Baldwin and the team's actions.

"NASCAR has made its decision: now it's time to move on," Evernham said. "I understand why Tommy and the team reacted the way they did in the heat of competition."

The pit-road incident shocked Stewart.

"The last time I checked, we were doing auto racing, not boxing," Stewart said.

TIGHT RACE FOR TRUCKS LEAD: The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has this weekend's race schedule all to itself. And the absence of races on the Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series should allow the truck series the spotlight.

Six points separate the top two drivers in the series points standings heading into Saturday night's Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200.

Fewer than 250 points separate leader Dennis Setzer and Bobby Hamilton from the 10th-place driver.

"You look at the whole crowd, they're all coming at us," Setzer said.

PIT STOPS: In a rough week for crew chiefs, Joe Gibbs Racing fired Michael McSwain, the popular leader of Bobby Labonte's team. McSwain worked with Labonte's team since the start of the 2003 season. NASCAR, meanwhile, levied penalties against four crew chiefs because of inspection violations during the Pepsi 400 at Daytona two weeks ago.

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